It was a game that the Washington Wizards lost all too often last year, and in the waning moments of the fourth quarter with journeyman point guard Donald Sloan scoring at will, the second game of a back-to-back against the tough, defensive minded but injured Indiana Pacers was looking to shape out like a game that the Wizards would give away.
The Wizards didn't roll over, but they would need overtime to top the Pacers at the Verizon Center by a score of 96-94 in overtime on Wednesday night to win their fourth game in a row to start the NBA season. During the final play of overtime, the Wizards were zoned in on Sloan, so he dished it out to Roy Hibbert, who missed a three-point shot to end the game.
Here's what we learned:
1. The Wizards can and will lean on Paul Pierce in crunch time.
Pierce failed to sink the 26-foot shot at the end of regulation to win the game for the Wizards, but he opened overtime with a dunk that made him look 10 years younger.
The shot at the end of overtime showed that, yes, they brought Paul Pierce here to make those shots. He missed, but it's a shot that Pierce is more than capable of making. In overtime Pierce played tough defense and threw down that slam to put the Wizards ahead in the opening moments. Pierce finished with 11 points and four rebounds, and although he didn't hit a three, the threat from The Truth must and will continue to be respected by all opposing defenders, especially in the closing minutes of a game.
2. Garrett Temple can shoot.
Temple continued doing his best Bradley Beal impersonation against the Pacers and is proving to be a serviceable substitute at the two-guard spot in Beal's absence. Temple scored 16 points while shooting 4-of-7 from behind the arc. Temple clearly has more confidence in his shot this season, as he told our own Mike Prada a few days ago, and should continue to be a valuable asset to the Wizards even after Beal comes back.
3. John Wall did John Wall things, some good, some bad.
Wall can still do things like this and act as a one-man lightning rod of a fast break on offense. Wall scored 31 points to along with 10 assists and six rebounds, and showed that while Pierce is an option, he will be the primary option when the Wizards need plays in crunch-time as he scored seven points in overtime to propel the Wizards to a win.
Still, on defense Wall struggled against another mediocre guard. Donald Sloan lit up the Wizards for 31 points, 11 of which he scored right out of the gate in the first quarter where Wall had some trouble getting over his screens. In the fourth quarter, Sloan turned the heat up again scoring nine points in the final six minutes, including scoring the layup with six seconds left to play that sent the game into overtime.
One Thing We Didn't Learn: Why didn't DeJuan Blair play? Why did Kris Humphries play so little?
I didn't hallucinate the Wizards spending 6 million to acquire Kris Humphries and DeJuan Blair this offseason, right?— Bullets Forever (@BulletsForever) November 6, 2014
Nope, that happened. But it seems like there are still some lineup kinks to grind out with the Wizards' newly added big men. DeJuan Blair didn't see the floor while Humphries played less than two minutes. Meanwhile, it seems like Randy Wittman preferred Kevin Seraphin and Drew Gooden instead as the duo played over 29 minutes combined.
Gooden finished 1-for-7 from the floor with three points and two rebounds while Seraphin had six points on 3-of-5 shooting to go along with a pair of rebounds.